by Lisa Tome
Don't let Kendrick "Ken" Natale's youthful appearance fool you.
Natale, 28, brings a strong accounting background, government experience, and auditing know-how to his job as Director of Finance and Administration for the Town of North East.
He replaced former North East town clerk Anne Fazio who retired in October after 24 years with the town. Fazio's former job has a new title and altered responsibilities all of which Natale is equipped to handle.
"I worked in government before. I am hoping to make some changes and bring some more ideas to the table," Natale said. "Just because something has always been done (a certain way) doesn't mean there is not a more efficient way to do it."
Natale is local. His family moved to North East from Marcus Hook, Pa. when he was in seventh grade. He graduated from North East High in 2005 and then received a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Ohio Valley University.
He most recently worked in Kent County as a supervisor in the treasury department, managing $60 million annually in revenue and expenses. He applied for the job in North East because he wanted to work closer to home. "I have an investment in the community here," said Natale. He also worked as a government accountant and spent a year as an auditor with the state's unemployment tax collection department.
He began his job in North East on October 27.
He said everyone has worked to make him feel welcome. His initial goal is to "provide more timely financials" to the North East town board. He is also working to establish more internal controls and to simplify the town finances in hopes of gaining a better return on investment. He said he will also work to assure that there is a proper segregation of duties. He said many of the fiscal controls were already in place. He is fine tuning and streamlining. He said there have been no problems and auditors are satisfied with the town's books.
"I am just adding financial expertise. Requirements have changed, money has changed, and standards have changed," said Natale. "It's been interesting. I am looking at modernizing and trying to streamline. There is a lot to do. There is plenty here to keep me busy. It makes me feel like I'm doing some good for the town," said Natale.
Natale realizes that he is bringing innovative ideas to a town where many of the people who work and serve on town boards have been serving before he was born.
"They have been very supportive. I am a fresh set of eyes. I am bringing the technology that is comparable to what other governments are doing," he said. "They've been supportive of them and helping to find out how we can do it."
"I think everybody here is pulling for the same thing. We want to see the town do well. It provides to the taxpayers a level of confidence," added Natale.